Geometry and Topology Seminar 2016-2017

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Spring 2017

date speaker title host(s)
Jan 20 Carmen Rovi (University of Indiana Bloomington) "The mod 8 signature of a fiber bundle" Maxim
Jan 27
Feb 3 Rafael Montezuma (University of Chicago) "Metrics of positive scalar curvature and unbounded min-max widths" Lu Wang
Feb 10
Feb 17 Yair Hartman (Northwestern University) "Intersectional Invariant Random Subgroups and Furstenberg Entropy." Dymarz
Feb 24 Lucas Ambrozio (University of Chicago) "Free boundary minimal hypersurfaces of Euclidean domains" Lu Wang
March 3 Mark Powell (Université du Québec à Montréal) "Stable classification of 4-manifolds" Kjuchukova
March 10 Autumn Kent (Wisconsin) Analytic functions from hyperbolic manifolds local
March 17
March 24 Spring Break
March 31 Xiangwen Zhang (University of California-Irvine) "The Anomaly Flow and Strominger systems" Lu Wang
April 7 Paul Feehan (Rutgers) "The Lojasiewicz-Simon gradient inequality and applications to energy discreteness and gradient flows in gauge theory" Lu Wang
April 14 Xianghong Gong (Wisconsin) "A Frobenius-Nirenberg theorem with parameter" local
April 21 Joseph Maher (CUNY) "Random walks on groups with negative curvature" Dymarz
April 28 Bena Tshishiku (Harvard) "Obstructions to Nielsen realization" Dymarz

Spring Abstracts

Lucas Ambrozio

"Free boundary minimal hypersurfaces of Euclidean domains"

We will show how the first Betti number of a compact free boundary minimal hypersurface in an domain whose boundary satisfies weak convexity assumptions is controlled effectively by the Morse index of this hypersurface viewed as a critical point of the area functional (joint with A. Carlotto and B. Sharp). Among such domains, the unit three-ball is particularly interesting, as it contains many free boundary minimal surfaces, which one would like to classify. In particular, we will explain how to characterise the critical catenoid in terms of a pinching condition on the second fundamental form (joint with I. Nunes).

Paul Feehan

"The Lojasiewicz-Simon gradient inequality and applications to energy discreteness and gradient flows in gauge theory"

The Lojasiewicz-Simon gradient inequality is a generalization, due to Leon Simon (1983), to analytic or Morse-Bott functionals on Banach manifolds of the finite-dimensional gradient inequality, due to Stanislaw Lojasiewicz (1963), for analytic functions on Euclidean space. We shall discuss several recent generalizations of the Lojasiewicz-Simon gradient inequality and a selection of their applications, such as global existence and convergence of Yang-Mills gradient flow over four-dimensional manifolds and discreteness of the energy spectrum for harmonic maps from Riemann surfaces into analytic Riemannian manifolds.

Xianghong Gong

"A Frobenius-Nirenberg theorem with parameter"

The Newlander-Nirenberg theorem says that a formally integrable complex structure is locally equivalent to the complex structure in the complex Euclidean space. We will show two results about the Newlander-Nirenberg theorem with parameter. The first extends the Newlander-Nirenberg theorem to a parametric version, and its proof yields a sharp regularity result as Webster's proof for the Newlander-Nirenberg theorem. The second concerns a version of Nirenberg's complex Frobenius theorem and its proof yields a result with a mild loss of regularity.

Rafael Montezuma

"Metrics of positive scalar curvature and unbounded min-max widths"

In this talk, I will construct a sequence of Riemannian metrics on the three-dimensional sphere with scalar curvature greater than or equal to 6, and arbitrarily large min-max widths. The search for such metrics is motivated by a rigidity result of min-max minimal spheres in three-manifolds obtained by Marques and Neves.

Carmen Rovi

The mod 8 signature of a fiber bundle

In this talk we shall be concerned with the residues modulo 4 and modulo 8 of the signature of a 4k-dimensional geometric Poincare complex. I will explain the relation between the signature modulo 8 and two other invariants: the Brown-Kervaire invariant and the Arf invariant. In my thesis I applied the relation between these invariants to the study of the signature modulo 8 of a fiber bundle. In 1973 Werner Meyer used group cohomology to show that a surface bundle has signature divisible by 4. I will discuss current work with David Benson, Caterina Campagnolo and Andrew Ranicki where we are using group cohomology and representation theory of finite groups to detect non-trivial signatures modulo 8 of surface bundles.

Yair Hartman

"Intersectional Invariant Random Subgroups and Furstenberg Entropy."

In this talk I'll present a joint work with Ariel Yadin, in which we solve the Furstenberg Entropy Realization Problem for finitely supported random walks (finite range jumps) on free groups and lamplighter groups. This generalizes a previous result of Bowen. The proof consists of several reductions which have geometric and probabilistic flavors of independent interests. All notions will be explained in the talk, no prior knowledge of Invariant Random Subgroups or Furstenberg Entropy is assumed.

Joseph Maher

"Random walks on groups with negative curvature"

We will give an introduction to random walks on groups satisfying various types of negative curvature conditions. A simple example is the nearest neighbour random walk on the 4-valent tree, also known as the Cayley graph of the free group on two generators. A typical random walk moves away from the origin at linear speed, and converges to one of the ends of the tree. We will discuss how to generalize this result to more general settings, such as hyperbolic groups, or acylindrical groups. This is joint work with Giulio Tiozzo.

Bena Tshishiku

"Obstructions to Nielsen realization"

Let M be a manifold, and let Mod(M) be the group of diffeomorphisms of M modulo isotopy (the mapping class group). The Nielsen realization problem for diffeomorphisms asks, “Can a given subgroup G<Mod(M) be lifted to the diffeomorphism group Diff(M)?” This question about group actions is related to a question about flat connections on fiber bundles with fiber M. In the case M is a closed surface, the answer is “yes" for finite G (by work of Kerckhoff) and “no" for G=Mod(M) (by work of Morita). For most infinite G<Mod(M), we don't know. I will discuss some obstructions that can be used to show that certain groups don’t lift. Some of this work is joint with Nick Salter.

Mark Powell

Stable classification of 4-manifolds

A stabilisation of a 4-manifold M is a connected sum of M with some number of copies of S^2 x S^2. Two 4-manifolds are said to be stably diffeomorphic if they admit diffeomorphic stabilisations. Since a necessary condition is that the fundamental groups be isomorphic, we study this equivalence relation for a fixed group. I will discuss recent progress in classifying 4-manifolds up to stable diffeomorphism for certain families of groups, arising from work with Daniel Kasprowski, Markus Land and Peter Teichner. As a by-product we also obtained a result on the analogous question with the complex projective plane CP^2 replacing S^2 x S^2.

Autumn Kent

Analytic functions from hyperbolic manifolds

At the heart of Thurston's proof of Geometrization for Haken manifolds is a family of analytic functions between Teichmuller spaces called "skinning maps." These maps carry geometric information about their associated hyperbolic manifolds, and I'll discuss what is presently known about their behavior. The ideas involved form a mix of geometry, algebra, and analysis.

Xiangwen Zhang

"The Anomaly Flow and Strominger systems"

The anomaly flow is a geometric flow which implements the Green-Schwarz anomaly cancellation mechanism originating from superstring theory, while preserving the conformally balanced condition of Hermitian metrics. I will discuss criteria for long time existence and convergence of the flow on toric fibrations with the Fu-Yau ansatz. This is joint work with D.H. Phong and S. Picard.

Fall 2016

date speaker title host(s)
September 9 Bing Wang (UW Madison) "The extension problem of the mean curvature flow" (Local)
September 16 Ben Weinkove (Northwestern University) "Gauduchon metrics with prescribed volume form" Lu Wang
September 23 Jiyuan Han (UW Madison) "Deformation theory of scalar-flat ALE Kahler surfaces" (Local)
September 30
October 7 Yu Li (UW Madison) "Ricci flow on asymptotically Euclidean manifolds" (Local)
October 14 Sean Howe (University of Chicago) "Representation stability and hypersurface sections" Melanie Matchett Wood
October 21 Nan Li (CUNY) "Quantitative estimates on the singular Sets of Alexandrov spaces" Lu Wang
October 28 Ronan Conlon(Florida International University) "New examples of gradient expanding K\"ahler-Ricci solitons" Bing Wang
November 4 Jonathan Zhu (Harvard University) "Entropy and self-shrinkers of the mean curvature flow" Lu Wang
November 11 Canceled.
November 18 Caglar Uyanik (Illinois) "Geometry and dynamics of free group automorphisms" Kent
Thanksgiving Recess
December 2 Peyman Morteza (UW Madison) "Gluing construction of Einstein manifolds" (Local)
December 9 Yu Zeng(University of Rochester) "Short time existence of the Calabi flow with rough initial data" Bing Wang
December 16 (No seminar)

Fall Abstracts

Ronan Conlon

New examples of gradient expanding K\"ahler-Ricci solitons

A complete K\"ahler metric $g$ on a K\"ahler manifold $M$ is a \emph{gradient expanding K\"ahler-Ricci soliton} if there exists a smooth real-valued function $f:M\to\mathbb{R}$ with $\nabla^{g}f$ holomorphic such that $\operatorname{Ric}(g)-\operatorname{Hess}(f)+g=0$. I will present new examples of such metrics on the total space of certain holomorphic vector bundles. This is joint work with Alix Deruelle (Universit\'e Paris-Sud).

Jiyuan Han

Deformation theory of scalar-flat ALE Kahler surfaces

We prove a Kuranishi-type theorem for deformations of complex structures on ALE Kahler surfaces. This is used to prove that for any scalar-flat Kahler ALE surfaces, all small deformations of complex structure also admit scalar-flat Kahler ALE metrics. A local moduli space of scalar-flat Kahler ALE metrics is then constructed, which is shown to be universal up to small diffeomorphisms (that is, diffeomorphisms which are close to the identity in a suitable sense). A formula for the dimension of the local moduli space is proved in the case of a scalar-flat Kahler ALE surface which deforms to a minimal resolution of \C^2/\Gamma, where \Gamma is a finite subgroup of U(2) without complex reflections. This is a joint work with Jeff Viaclovsky.

Sean Howe

Representation stability and hypersurface sections

We give stability results for the cohomology of natural local systems on spaces of smooth hypersurface sections as the degree goes to \infty. These results give new geometric examples of a weak version of representation stability for symmetric, symplectic, and orthogonal groups. The stabilization occurs in point-counting and in the Grothendieck ring of Hodge structures, and we give explicit formulas for the limits using a probabilistic interpretation. These results have natural geometric analogs -- for example, we show that the "average" smooth hypersurface in \mathbb{P}^n is \mathbb{P}^{n-1}!

Nan Li

Quantitative estimates on the singular sets of Alexandrov spaces

The definition of quantitative singular sets was initiated by Cheeger and Naber. They proved some volume estimates on such singular sets in non-collapsed manifolds with lower Ricci curvature bounds and their limit spaces. On the quantitative singular sets in Alexandrov spaces, we obtain stronger estimates in a collapsing fashion. We also show that the (k,\epsilon)-singular sets are k-rectifiable and such structure is sharp in some sense. This is a joint work with Aaron Naber.

Yu Li

In this talk, we prove that if an asymptotically Euclidean (AE) manifold with nonnegative scalar curvature has long time existence of Ricci flow, it converges to the Euclidean space in the strong sense. By convergence, the mass will drop to zero as time tends to infinity. Moreover, in three dimensional case, we use Ricci flow with surgery to give an independent proof of positive mass theorem. A classification of diffeomorphism types is also given for all AE 3-manifolds with nonnegative scalar curvature.

Peyman Morteza

We develop a procedure to construct Einstein metrics by gluing the Calabi metric to an Einstein orbifold. We show that our gluing problem is obstructed and we calculate the obstruction explicitly. When our obstruction does not vanish, we obtain a non-existence result in the case that the base orbifold is compact. When our obstruction vanishes and the base orbifold is non-degenerate and asymptotically hyperbolic we prove an existence result. This is a joint work with Jeff Viaclovsky.

Caglar Uyanik

Geometry and dynamics of free group automorphisms

A common theme in geometric group theory is to obtain structural results about infinite groups by analyzing their action on metric spaces. In this talk, I will focus on two geometrically significant groups; mapping class groups and outer automorphism groups of free groups.We will describe a particular instance of how the dynamics and geometry of their actions on various spaces provide deeper information about the groups.

Bing Wang

The extension problem of the mean curvature flow

We show that the mean curvature blows up at the first finite singular time for a closed smooth embedded mean curvature flow in R^3. A key ingredient of the proof is to show a two-sided pseudo-locality property of the mean curvature flow, whenever the mean curvature is bounded. This is a joint work with Haozhao Li.

Ben Weinkove

Gauduchon metrics with prescribed volume form

Every compact complex manifold admits a Gauduchon metric in each conformal class of Hermitian metrics. In 1984 Gauduchon conjectured that one can prescribe the volume form of such a metric. I will discuss the proof of this conjecture, which amounts to solving a nonlinear Monge-Ampere type equation. This is a joint work with Gabor Szekelyhidi and Valentino Tosatti.

Jonathan Zhu

Entropy and self-shrinkers of the mean curvature flow

The Colding-Minicozzi entropy is an important tool for understanding the mean curvature flow (MCF), and is a measure of the complexity of a submanifold. Together with Ilmanen and White, they conjectured that the round sphere minimises entropy amongst all closed hypersurfaces. We will review the basics of MCF and their theory of generic MCF, then describe the resolution of the above conjecture, due to J. Bernstein and L. Wang for dimensions up to six and recently claimed by the speaker for all remaining dimensions. A key ingredient in the latter is the classification of entropy-stable self-shrinkers that may have a small singular set.

Yu Zeng

Short time existence of the Calabi flow with rough initial data

Calabi flow was introduced by Calabi back in 1950’s as a geometric flow approach to the existence of extremal metrics. Analytically it is a fourth order nonlinear parabolic equation on the Kaehler potentials which deforms the Kaehler potential along its scalar curvature. In this talk, we will show that the Calabi flow admits short time solution for any continuous initial Kaehler metric. This is a joint work with Weiyong He.